Help for newbie kayak builder

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by goanywhere, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. goanywhere
    Joined: Mar 2011
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    Location: Adelaide, Australia

    goanywhere Junior Member

    Hello all. I am in the process of studying options for building a Stitch and Glue kayak. This will be my first boat build and I am interested in exploring all options, from purchasing existing plans to designing one using good software. I have seen a software package called 3dboatdesign.com which seems interesting. I am a bit wary of over-promoted software that under delivers in reality, so I thought I would seek the advice of more experienced heads on this forum.

    Any assistance and guidance gratefuly received.
     
  2. cthippo
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    Location: Bellingham WA

    cthippo Senior Member

    Hello and welcome aboard!

    I'd strongly recommend getting a set of commercial plans for your first build. Chesapeake Light Craft carries a pretty goof selection of plans for both S&G and cedar strip designs.

    www.clcboats.com
     
  3. tom28571
    Joined: Dec 2001
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    Location: Oriental, NC

    tom28571 Senior Member

    No matter what software you use or how competent you are with its use, the chance of coming up with a good kayak on the first go is miniscule. You need knowledge of kayak design as well as knowledge of what plywood likes to do when you bend it. The S&G designs that make good boats are done by people that have these skills and knowledge and they don't come from the software. CLC, B&Byachtdesigns and Pygmy have done the homework. Learn from the one that suits your tastes and then do your own. The chance of building only one boat once you start is also miniscule.
     
  4. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Goanywhere, design software is one of the tools a yacht designer may use to develop the shapes used in a hull, but the software doesn't tell you if you've developed a shape that will suit your needs.

    3dboatdesign.com is actually a stolen and illegally marketed version of FreeShip and though attempts have been made to shut down the site by the developer of FreeShip, the web is just a package of very loosely governed enterprises, so they've continued.

    In other words, you can download a free version of this software if you like, though again, it will not teach you about hydrodynamics or any of the other principles, concepts and physics involved in engineering a hull form to suit a specific set of goals.

    Buy a set of plans. It's a lot cheaper then the education necessary to procure the engineering skills to design a boat, even a small one.
     
  5. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    Par has it in a nutshell - also any 'boat' design software takes months to even understand, and lots longer to get something useful designed.

    I would suggest for a first boat, you buy a kit of precut hull bits. Some Pygmy designs, for example require you to loft out (measure), then cut 4mm plywood into multiple planks to 1/32" tolerances, so even 'plans' can be a tough way for a beginner to start.

    From my experience - you learn more by getting stuck into building and using 'something', than years a of trying to design the 'perfect' boat.

    On the plus side, I was very pleased about the way my Pygmy Goldeneye went together http://www.pygmyboats.com/mall/GEHISPEC.asp
     

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  6. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    RWatson, did you get plans from Pygmy or did you buy the kit and have it shipped to Taz?

    I have a woman paddling buddy who bought a pygmy kit and built a beautiful boat all by herself. I can attest to the fact that her boat works well. She can outrun me and my slightly longer Walden plastic kayak.
     
  7. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    rwatson Senior Member

    I bought the plans - the kit is too expensive to ship.

    I had to use a special high tech method to cut the planks - using a jigsaw on plywood to those tolerances was a bit too challenging for me.
     
  8. goanywhere
    Joined: Mar 2011
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    Location: Adelaide, Australia

    goanywhere Junior Member

    Thanks for the tips guys. I think I will forget the software side of things, but I will buy some plans. I am in Australia, so by the time I buy a kit and have it sent here the cost will be excessive. I am fairly handy and I am happy to take the time to get the job done right. I already have one kayak so I don't need to be in a hurry. I plan to make it an 'off season' project over winter and spring. I will be a regular visitor to this forum for advice I'm sure!
     
  9. Dave Gentry
    Joined: May 2010
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    Location: Charlottesville, Virginia

    Dave Gentry Junior Member

    Or, for a much less expensive, quicker and easier to build option, check out the free plans, here:
    www.yostwerks.com
    I particularly recommend the wooden framed Sea Rider and the Rolldarka - both are excellent boats, as are many of his.

    Have fun!
     
  10. cthippo
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    cthippo Senior Member

    Even if you don't use his plans, I've found the instructions at Yostwerks to be the best online. He's got pictures of every step of the way and the instructions make sense. Definitely worth looking at no matter who's plans you end up getting.
     
  11. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    Cheaper - I dont think so ( all aluminium and HDPE )
    Quicker - I dont think so ( omigod, all that drilling , fitting, bolting, re-inforcing)
    Easier to Build - I dont think so ( omigod, all that drilling , fitting, bolting, re-inforcing)

    If you need to carry your kayak by train or bus - this is an excellent solution.

    If you need to carry a load of camping equipment, there is no storage space to speak of (The insides are all taken up with aluminium pipe, small frames etc) , and no reserve bouyancy to hold it anyway. You even need to do special higher decks if you are approaching 100 kilos of body size.

    Then, the sloppy, fragile covering - wouldnt last a week, let alone a season against rocks and oyster shells.
     
  12. Dave Gentry
    Joined: May 2010
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    Dave Gentry Junior Member

    I've made 8 or so Yost kayaks, and a much bigger pile of other non-traditionally constructed SOF boats, and every last one of them was vastly cheaper, easier and quicker to build than any of the S&G boats I've built.
    None of them seems to have disintegrated, yet.

    Actually, Tom's aluminum framed folders are OK for this, but his inflatable designs are much better options if you need a stowable/packable kayak. They assemble much faster, and weigh somewhat less.
     
  13. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    I have built my share of SOF kayaks, and I know they are a lot more fiddle than plywood S&G by a long shot. You have all the frames, joins, stringers, floorboards etc to measure, cut and assemble, join, (sand, paint if timber) and then you get to the skin. My personal estimate would be that the HDP frames and piping would take longer to cut and fit than a traditional SOG frame, and you still wouldnt have even tackled the outer skin either.

    In S&G you cut the panels ( the lofting is the biggest fiddle ), drill the holes, wire and glue with a few temporary moulds ,and then you apply the glass. You only build the skin - hardly any internals. And after that, you have all the insides free to put essential gear like .... feet!

    Unless I was in dire need of small space storage, you would have to give me a lot more detailed list of job times to tempt me to try one.
     
  14. cthippo
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    Location: Bellingham WA

    cthippo Senior Member

    It depends on how it's built. A traditional SOF boat has almost no internal bracing and the whole interior is pretty much open. Also, a traditional SOF boat can be built without measuring anything.

    The more modern boats like the Yostwrekes ones use a heavier type of framing, but one that is easier to build with modern materials. Pick your poison.

    This is one of Dave Wilhelm's boats ( www.dwkayaks.com ) before skinning and as you can see there nothing inside the "shell" but a plank to sit on.

    [​IMG]
     

  15. goanywhere
    Joined: Mar 2011
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    Location: Adelaide, Australia

    goanywhere Junior Member

    I like this design by Chesapeake Light Craft:
    http://www.clcboats.com/shop/boats/...ks/sea-island-sport-sit-on-top-kayak-kit.html.
    It's a design that can be rigged as a genuine open water fishing platform, with a hull design similar to the famous Hobie Outback that sells for thousands. I also sail my current kayak, and a retractable centreboard could be accommodated in the large cockpit of this boat. Also a self-draining cockpit is essential for a SOT.

    I am not looking for high speed, or a wave carving shape, stability and payload are the most important features I am looking for.

    I anticipate tha the hull design will be a challenge but as I said, I intend to take my time and get all the help I can get.

    The thing I like about a SOT is that cockpit manoevreability is much better than a sit-in, and allows access to hatches and to land large fish. I have a SOT kayak now and I like what they offer. I like to sit 'crossways' while fishing with access to gear and hatches to the left and right, and I expect this hull design will allow for that.

    I had no idea that a S&G version of this design was out there. This allows me to get a genuine light-weight fishing kayak for a fraction of the cost of a 'big name' moulded yak.
     
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